All posts in Business News

27 Feb 2014

Buyers of IRBC mortgages not bound by Central Bank rules

THE buyers of IBRC’s book of mortgage loans will not be hit with penalties if they break the Central Bank’s code of conduct for dealing with customers in arrears, the bank’s liquidators have admitted.

About 11,825 customers are affected as their mortgages are being sold as part of the liquidation of IBRC.

Bidders for the loans have said they will voluntarily comply with the Central Bank code, but did not sign any written agreements.

27 Feb 2014

Credit union members to feel brunt of €30m levy

MILLIONS of credit union members will be hit by plans to impose a fresh levy on the lenders.

The Government has set up proposals to force the country’s 392 credit unions to pay millions of euro – €5m a year for six years – in order to build up a fund to bail out credit unions that get into financial trouble.

There are about three million members of credit unions throughout the country.

26 Feb 2014

Central Bank to crack down on small firms breaking rules

The Central Bank plans to use disciplinary actions against smaller firms that get caught breaching finance rules to demonstrate its seriousness as a regulator.

The warning is contained in a statement setting out the bank’s enforcement priorities for the year.

It says resources have been specifically allocated for enforcement actions in relation to smaller firms, which have less day-to-day contact with the regulator.

26 Feb 2014

BoI customers hit as skimmers hack into their current accounts

A GARDA investigation is under way after hundreds of Bank of Ireland (BoI) customers had their accounts skimmed in two branches over the weekend.

Customers in two BoI branches in Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny, and in Borris, Co Carlow, had their current accounts accessed from the United States over a three-day period in a scamming operation which yielded thousands of euros for fraudsters.

26 Feb 2014

Banks with the worst customer complaints named and shamed

BANKS have been named and shamed for the first time for their poor handling of customer complaints.

The banks publicly identified by the Financial Services Ombudsman include AIB, Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland, Bank of Scotland and Danske Bank.

The six all feature in the top 10 financial institutions that were the subject of most complaints by customers in the last three months of last year.

25 Feb 2014

Boost for banks as NAMA to make payments on junior debt

The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) plans to make an interest payment on the so-called subordinated or junior bonds for the first time since the debt was issued in 2010, according to sources close to the situation.

It is understood that banks were told to expect the payment in recent days.

25 Feb 2014

State flouts EU rules by not revealing winners of public contracts

An estimated 7,500 tenders worth €12bn were offered by government departments, agencies and utility companies in 2013 on the eTenders procurement website.

Despite government cuts to health spending, the Health Service Executive (HSE) awarded more than any other body, according to the annual report from TenderScout.

But only 10pc of SMEs actually participate in the tender process.

25 Feb 2014

European shares fall back from three weeks of sharp gains

European shares pulled back from three weeks of sharp gains today, causing many regional indexes to fall from multi-year highs, as weak corporate outlooks darkened the earnings picture.

Fresenius Medical Care (FMC) fell 7.1 percent after it unexpectedly forecast another decline in profit for 2014 amid cuts to healthcare budgets in the United States. Shares in Fresenius, which controls FMC, fell 8.8 percent.

24 Feb 2014

Public contracts worth €12bn

Only one in 10 SMEs apply for public sector contracts in what is a very lucrative €12bn market.
The figures for 2013 show that the biggest single contract was for €30m, awarded to Airfield Pavement Construction by the Dublin Airport Authority.

The HSE awards most public sector contracts,closely followed by the Office of Public Works and Cork County Council.

24 Feb 2014

ECB will add to stimulus if outlook for prices falls further, says Draghi

“We don’t have any evidence of people postponing their expenditure plans with a view to buying the same thing at lower prices; in other words we don’t see what is defined to be deflation,” Draghi said after a G20 meeting in Sydney.

“We are aware of the risks. The Governing Council is willing and ready to take any action in case these risks were to gain strength.”

Economists are divided over whether the Frankfurt-based ECB will increase stimulus to counter the risk of deflation after eurozone inflation slowed to 0.7% in January, less than half the bank’s 2% target.

Draghi said the council will have “the full set of information needed for deciding whether to act or not” by its next policy meeting on March 6 in Frankfurt, when it will publish a 2016 inflation projection for the first time.

He also spoke at length about signs of economic recovery in the eurozone, saying there are initial indications that confidence is returning and domestic demand is picking up.

“I have to be cautious about this because we are not seeing strong, unambiguous developments,” Draghi said. “We are seeing first signs of a development which, if protracted in time, could gain strength.”

Draghi said the inflation rate fell to similar levels after the Asian and Lehman Brothers crises. The drop in core inflation was mostly driven by the currency bloc’s crisis-hit countries, which was “not entirely unwelcome”, while global price changes for energy and food were also a factor, he said.

“You can explain the present level of inflation,” Draghi said, adding that medium-term price expectations are also “firmly anchored at 2%”.

The ECB’s benchmark rate is already at 0.25% and a cut may involve taking the deposit rate below its current level of zero, something council member Jens Weidmann described as “uncharted territory”.

“We don’t know what the reaction would be and what the effect is,” he told Bloomberg News in Sydney.
Weidmann did indicate his support for suspending sterilisation of the ECB’s historic bond purchases to increase liquidity and help reduce volatility on money markets.

“I wouldn’t rule out pausing sterilisation” of purchases made under the now-defunct Securities Markets Programme, said Weidmann, who heads Germany’s Bundesbank.

“If we’re discussing how to inject liquidity into the market, instead of creating a new instrument, the most straightforward manner would certainly be just to either pause the absorption operation or reduce them in size.”

Ending the liquidity drain would add about €175bn to the eurozone financial system.

Draghi said that while the ECB’s pledge to keep rates low for an extended period has helped to reduce money-market volatility, halting sterilisation is “one of the instruments we’re looking at”.

“We have several instruments for our monetary policy, one of which is what Jens has hinted at,” he said.

A worsening in the medium-term outlook for price stability would require a different response. “We look at that, we stand ready to act,” Draghi declared.